The ASP.NET (Active Server Page) Framework is a Microsoft Project initially started by the programming legends Scott Guthrie and Mark Anders. Often seen as the alternative to PHP, the ASP.NET framework is advertised as Web Development with Power, Productivity and Speed. Although, it can (and has) been argued that PHP also provides all the things ASP.NET advertises, Microsoft has put an aggressive release strategy into place that is really starting to make the framework shine against its competitors.
There are 3 choices developers can utilise to program using the ASP.NET framework - MVC (model view controller), Web Pages (similar to procedural PHP scripting) and Web Forms all of which give you access to the thirteen thousand plus classes available all designed to make web development easier.
This article discusses ASP.NET Web Forms. Although you can technically program using the ASP.NET with any language from Delphi to Ada (these are academic experiments only), the two most widely used languages are C and Visual Basic. It is worth noting the Microsoft seems to be putting more support into C than VB at present but there is nothing in beta release notes mentioning a phasing out of support completely.
The first thing in a web form ASP.NET page is a page directive indicated by tags with either C or VB in between the tags depending on language choice. There could also be a void page_load or void page_prerender methods depending on what the developer wants the webpage to do on load or prior to content being rendered in the browser.
Once the HTML doctype and header have been added, a form tag with runat server is added in between the body tags.
In between the form tags, HTML and ASP.NET controls are added. Controls are executed when the page is requested and they range from date pickers, a scrolling image gallery to data in a table queried from a database.
ASP.NET has come a long way since the days of the original Active Server Page websites and it has to be considered as a development platform of choice. Millions of websites worldwide are powered by it with developers enjoying an active community, virtually endless content management system choices and an easily updatable system via the Microsoft Web Platform Installer.